What You Need to Know Before Your Pet's Upcoming Surgery
Many people have questions about various aspects of their pet'ssurgery, and we hope this information will help. It also explains thedecisions you will need to make before your pet's upcoming surgery.
Is the anesthetic safe?
Today's modern anesthetic monitors have made surgery muchsafer than in the past. Here at Lakewood Animal Hospital, we do athorough physical exam on your pet before administering anesthetics. We also adjust the amount and type of anesthetic used depending on thehealth of your pet.
Preanesthetic blood testing is important in reducing the risk ofanesthesia. We recommend every pet has blood testing performed beforesurgery. Even apparently healthy animals can have serious organ system problemsthat cannot be detected without blood testing. If there is a problem,it is much better to find it before it causes anesthetic or surgicalcomplications. If serious problems are detected, surgery can bepostponed until the problem is corrected.
We offer in-house blood testing before surgery, which we will goover with you when you bring your pet in. For geriatric or ill pets,additional blood tests, electrocardiograms (ECGs), or x-rays may berequired before surgery as well.
It is important that surgery be done on an empty stomach to reducethe risk of vomiting during and after anesthesia. You will need towithhold food from your pet after 8 pm the evening before surgery. Water can be left down for the pet until the morning of surgery.
Will my pet have stitches?
For many surgeries, we use absorbable sutures underneaththe skin with some skin glue on the top. These will dissolve on theirown, and do not need to be removed later. Some surgeries do requireskin stitches which require removal 10-14 days after surgery. Witheither type of suture, you will need to keep an eye on the incision forswelling or discharge. Most dogs and cats do not lick excessively orchew at the incision, but this is an occasional problem you will alsoneed to watch for. You will also need to limit your pet's activitylevel for a time and no baths are allowed until their post-operativeprogresss examination 10-14 days after surgery.
Will my pet be in pain?
Anything that causes pain in people can be expected tocause pain in animals. Pets may not show the same symptoms of pain aspeople do; they usually don't whine or cry, but you can be sure theyfeel it. Pain medications needed will depend on the surgery performed. Major procedures require more pain relief than things like minorlacerations. For dogs, we may recommend an oral anti-inflammatory theday after surgery and several days after to lessen the risk ofdiscomfort and swelling.
Because cats do not tolerate standard pain medications such as aspirin,ibuprofen, or Tylenol, we are limited in what we can give them. Recentadvances in pain medications have allowed for better pain control incats than ever before. We use a combination of pain medication whichresults in our feline patients being very comfortable after surgery.
What other decisions do I need to make?
When you bring your pet in for surgery, it will take 10-15minutes to fill out paperwork and make decisions on the blood testingand other options available. When you pick up your pet after surgeryyou can also plan to spend about 15-20 minutes to go over your pet'shome care needs.
We will call you the night before your scheduled surgeryappointment, to confirm the time you will be dropping your pet off andto answer any questions you might have. In the meantime, please don'thesitate to call us with any questions about your pet's health orsurgery.